‘We have finally embraced the future Princess of Wales after 25 years mourning the previous one’
Your digest of analysis from the British and international press
Clemmie Moodie for The Sun
Waity Katie turned into Saint Kate Middleton… and had the last laugh
on a royal coming of age
Cynics may say that the Duchess of Cambridge’s PR machine has gone “into overdrive of late”, says Clemmie Moodie in The Sun. Pictures of Kate Middleton released to mark her 40th birthday received “fawning blanket-coverage”, but more easy to miss was “the apparent early beatification of a woman once disparagingly dismissed as ‘Waity Katie’”. Now, however, “Saint Kate can do no wrong”. Maybe it’s because people have seen her “perennially smiling” on all manner of occasions, or that members of the public “have finally embraced the future Princess of Wales after almost 25 years of mourning the previous one”. The “sloshed days” and “high street labels” of Kate’s previous life “are largely gone”. The Duchess has “doggedly and blessedly pursued the ‘never complain, never explain’ school of thought”, and she “maintained a dignified silence” when she was “mocked” in the early days of her and William’s relationship for “hanging around waiting for a ring”. “To her one-time detractors,” says Moodie, Kate “is most definitely having the last laugh”.
Victoria Richards for The Independent
Where were you on 20 May 2020?
on alleged rule-breaking
The Covid-19 death toll was 166 people on 20 May 2020, a date “that shall now be forever etched in public consciousness”, writes Victoria Richards for The Independent. The elderly, new mothers, single people, “the sick and the dying and the sad – we all suffered” during the first national lockdown, she writes. The “heartfelt examples” of people’s memories from that day “feel endless” and “that’s because they are”. “We all made sacrifices” and “even the so-called ‘small’ losses felt huge to those who experienced them”. Reflecting on them now, says Richards, “serves only to highlight the stark hypocrisy of the government’s apparent actions. Compare and contrast, if you will, the email to 100 employees” reportedly inviting them to an outdoor gathering at No. 10 Downing Street on this day. Richards describes her experience of that period as “the worst and darkest period of my life to date”, but still it was “not as terrible as many people had it”. It’s “good” that civil servant Sue Gray will “likely now widen her investigations” to include this alleged gathering. “We’ll have to wait and see exactly who will be partying when she returns her report.”
Ido Vock for The New Statesman
Why Emmanuel Macron’s war on the unvaccinated makes electoral sense
on critical comments
“As the pandemic enters its third year, goodwill towards the unjabbed is in short supply,” says Ido Vock for The New Statesman. Last week, Emmanuel Macron “declared his intention to continue to ‘piss off’ the unvaccinated”. The French president’s “war on the unvaccinated” is “a political calculation”, says Vock. His “incendiary comments” were “designed to appeal to his supporters, who are among the most likely to support a tough line on the unimmunised”. His words also “forced his rivals for this year’s presidential election to openly take a position if they wished to criticise his crude comments”, which would put them in “an inherently electorally risky position”. “Standing up for the rights of the unvaccinated can have only limited electoral appeal” in France, as in many countries “where immunisation rates are about as high as they can be expected to go without significant compulsion”. Macron’s words may prove “beneficial as the campaign for April’s election gets going in earnest”.
Gerard Lyons for The Telegraph
Ultra low rates have created a generation addicted to debt
on cheap money
The “imminent cost of living crisis” has prompted a “recognition that the Bank of England was asleep at the wheel last year and did not act early enough to curb inflationary pressures”, says Gerard Lyons at The Telegraph. “Have low interest rates created broader problems than politicians and people realised?” Lyons asks. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, “we have become addicted to cheap money policies”, which has impacted “people’s attitude towards saving and borrowing”. As a result a “generation of young people have spent their entire adult lives with interest rates at rock bottom”, and “the culture of low rates has exacerbated inequality”. This is “perhaps the biggest concern”, with “cheap finance” feeding “imbalances between home-owners and renters, between asset rich and asset poor”. Higher wages are also “part of the challenge”. The idea of “buy now and pay later is increasingly seen as more viable, because low rates mean this is not seen as debt”. Young people take on these loans “by choice, because rates are low”. Interest rates “look set to rise this year”, says Lyons, but many of these issues “look set to persist long into the future”.
Zaid Jilani for Unherd
Violence inequality shames America
on unacknowledged dangers
“Contrary to the claims of ‘police abolitionists’, residents of poor communities often want more and better policing” in America, writes Zaid Jilani for Unherd. The reason is in part “because they happen to live under a far greater threat of violent crime than other communities”. They also “don’t have nearly as many resources to defend themselves as upper-income communities”. Jilani says that “just as we track inequality on axes like income, wealth and health care”, public safety in the most and least dangerous neighbourhoods should also be tracked. “Violence inequality exists virtually everywhere in the United States, but it is particularly dramatic in some areas”. Addressing this inequality “is one of the most important things that the Democratic Party could do for underprivileged people” and could bring “meaningful change”. The main obstacle the party faces is “political”, but there are signs that things are changing. What’s clear is that “it’s almost impossible to address a problem we can’t even admit exists”, and Jilani says “those who profess to care about the disadvantaged need to acknowledge that violence inequality is a deep and growing problem”.